Swanwick Lodge, as a local government unit, has an organisational culture that is underpinned by well understood systems and processes that are designed to ensure its stability, accountability and effective professional and business practices. These include policies covering such issues as behaviour management, child protection, health and safety and safe recruitment of staff. Such systems and processes are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changing requirements, new knowledge and in pursuit of total quality management.
A secure children’s home, within Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services Department, it benefits from extensive technical support from specialist departments such as Property, Business and Regulatory Services, Human Resources, Training, Accountancy and Audit departments. While Swanwick Lodge can boast about good facilities, its engine room is its staff, who provide daily care and supervision, learning experiences, therapy, prepares food, keep the buildings maintained and manage the administration and finances. Consequently, it is the dynamics of teamwork and the day-to-day management of people that provides the experience for the children and young people at Swanwick Lodge.
Swanwick Lodge has also built up an extensive network of support from external agencies in the statutory, voluntary and commercial sectors, which provide services that range from providing volunteer independent visitors to firms who service and maintain our sophisticated security and monitoring systems. In addition, we have established associations with schools, educational groups, health organisations and others to enrich the experience for our children and young people.
Our care, education, therapy and support teams deliver a wide variety of programmes and the direction and unity of purpose is provided by a policy team and operations group. The membership of these groups is made up of the team managers and specialists, who contribute to the business plan and monitor outcomes. Dissemination of information is achieved by an open management style and all minutes and decisions of meeting are published with staff regularly briefed on developments. At Swanwick Lodge, we attempt to do this by involving staff in our developments by making information readily available (the publication of all minutes of meetings), inviting comments on developments and empowering staff to make decisions at the point of service delivery and by giving recognition to celebrate achievement and innovation or a job well done.
Our management processes are underpinned by robust staff selection, regular and effective supervision, appraisals (based on SMARTA objectives) and disciplinary and grievance procedures. “There is careful selection and vetting of all staff working with young people in the home.” (Ofsted) All our staff are vetted through Hampshire County Council’s rigorous recruitment procedure which includes a competency based approach to both the recruitment and selection procedure. All Swanwick Lodge staff are subject to an enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check (CRB) verified by the police authorities. We employ a ratio of 1:2, staff:children and all our care staff have, or achieve in the first 12 months of appointment, an NVQ in Child care as a minimum, whilst teaching staff are qualified teachers or instructors – who maintain their professional knowledge and skills.
Once employed within Swanwick, all staff are subject to a robust supervision process. Supervision is a vital part of the professional development of staff allowing for reflection on practice, accountability, performance management and support for all staff. All staff members have a designated supervisor who offer them four-weekly, consistent and dedicated supervision, ensuring that all members of staff have the opportunity for further professional development, with regular reviews conducted for all staff, by their line manager and any training need identified for satisfying:-
Leadership, particular during periods of change, is essential and is aimed at motivating and involving staff in the decision making processes, strengthening our teams and articulating our vision and values. Leadership can be provided at a number of different levels in the organisation and not just by managers, and this is particularly reflected in our work with young people, where different disciplines may take the lead to in providing support to other staff in solving a problem or managing a particularly difficult case.